Are you upgrading or simply updating your home?

We recently heard a local Realtor discussing the idea that a home seller did not need to upgrade their home before putting it on the market, discounting the idea of switching out counter tops, light fixtures, or flooring.  During this conversation it became clear that there was some confusion between the concept of upgrading and updating when putting your home on the market.

Are you upgrading or simply updating your home?

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One of the most important parts of knowing the answer to this question is to understand buyer expectations. The size, price point, and location of a given home may create a different answer. Let’s look at a few different recommendations that may be made and determine whether they are likely to be upgrades or simply updates.

Granite counters – upgrade or update?

This should be an easy answer, right? Not really. In a home that is inexpensive to the market, like one that is typical for most first time home buyers, granite counter tops are probably an upgrade. However, for homes that are at or above the average median sale price, granite is probably considered a “standard feature”.

When buyers are looking at homes in this price range, what are their expectations? One way to determine this is to look at what builders are doing in the price point and general location. Generally speaking, builders represent the standard for the general market. The fixtures, finishes, and “upgrades” help create buyer expectations. Nearly every home on the market is competing against local new construction.

Do I really need to get new light fixtures? 

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This question has to be looked at in almost the same fashion as the granite counters, with some exceptions. Generally speaking if the fixtures in the home are more than 15 years old, replacing them is probably an update, not an upgrade. Most homes can be spoken of based on the decade they were built. If I were to tell you a home is original 1970s or 1980s, you would probably know the difference in decor and finishes. Both were probably brass. 1970s fixtures were more ornate, often with etched or laminated images. 1980s fixtures became a little more sleek and modern adding in more glass and crystal, often in geometric form.

Today, regardless of the price point of home, both of these style fixtures feels very dated. The more brass in a home, the more likely that buyers will feel the need to update. 

What kind of return on investment will I get?

If you are considering making updates or upgrades, understand that updates, unlike upgrades, is money that buyers will feel they have to spend and therefor when done before selling have a tendency to create a higher return on investment. 

Depending on the upgrade, you may still earn 100% return on investment or better because the home will be more appealing than other homes without those upgrades, creating the possibility of multiple offers, or full price offers. The best option is to have a custom evaluation of your home prior to making improvements for the reason of resale value. Call Home Matters Home Staging for more information or for an evaluation.